2021 Kinesiology: Jonathan Gad

Jonathan took his love of sports and turned it into a career path. Originally from Egypt, Jonathan moved to Buena Park at age 6, when his family secured a visa. He always enjoyed playing sports and being part of a team, so Kinesiology was a natural fit when selecting a program. A professor encouraged Jonathan to join the Cypress College athletics department as an intern, to shadow trainers and observe what a degree in Kinesiology could lead to. He credits guidance like this, and his strong faith, with supporting him through a productive, involved experience at Cypress College, and what will help him with his next steps at Cal State Fullerton this fall.

Kinesiology Presidential Scholar of Distinction Jonathan Gad poses in front of blue wall.

Please tell us about yourself. Where did you grow up? What are your interests? What is your story?

My name is Jonathan Gad, and I’m a Cypress College student. I was originally born in Egypt and I grew up there until I was about 5 years old. In 2006, my parents were blessed to win the visa lottery, which gave my entire family (my parents, my sister, and me) the chance to move to the United States, and I’ve been living in Buena Park ever since. Beginning in middle school, leading into high school, I was always participating in sports. I played Wwter polo, swim, cross country, and wrestling. I love to be a part of a team and learn how to grow in school. I love learning and I love working hard. Most of all, I love God!

In my sophomore year of high school, I became a Christian, and my entire life changed. I started reading the Bible and applying it to my life. I saw how much power was in the word of God and in pursuing a relationship with God through the word and prayer, I was transformed, and still being renewed, into a completely different person. My life belongs to God and my interests are reading the Bible, journaling, going to church, and seeking ways to honor and glorify God more in my life.

What are you most passionate about? Why?

I’m most passionate about working hard for the Lord and not for man. While I love to serve and seek the well-being of people’s health as a future healthcare professional, I’m more passionate about pursuing the will of God in my life.

Kinesiology student Jonathan Gad poses in graduation regalia in front of College Complex building.

Why did you choose Cypress College?

I choose Cypress College because I didn’t know where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do straight out of high school. I choose Cypress College because of the incredible opportunity they offered students: to attend Cypress College for free under the guidance of counselors and caring professors. I went to Cypress College because they were close to my home and because I felt like that’s where I was supposed to go. And I praise God because that was exactly where I was supposed to go. Going to Cypress has been one of the best decisions of my life!

What have you been involved in at Cypress College? How has your path unfolded?

In my first semester at Cypress College, I enrolled in the Legacy Community: a one-year transfer program that provides students with resources and guidance on how to navigate their first year of college. Apart from choosing to go to Cypress College, joining the Legacy program was the second best decision I made. They blessed me with the opportunity to visit campuses and take tours, grow in my confidence, meet new mentors and make new friends, and give me a great first-year experience that projected me toward success.

In my first semester, I took an introduction to Kinesiology class with professor Sergio Cutrona. He inspired me to find out more about the type of career I’d want to pursue with my degree by getting first-hand experience of that job. His encouragement lead me to become an intern with the Cypress College Athletic Training Clinic. From October 2019 to the closing of campus due to COVID-19 on March 2020, I was shadowing the Cypress College atheltic trainers and getting a first-hand look at what a career in the Kinesiology field is all about. I attended school games, treated Cypress athletes, and learned the ins and outs of being an athletic trainer in a clinical setting. During that time I accumulated close to 300 hours of shadowing experience at Cypress College!

I also joined the Honors program in my first semester at Cypress College and have experienced classes with some of the most wonderful college professors.

Student Jonathan Gad poses in Legacy Program T-shirt in front of pond on Cypress College campus.

Share a memorable event or experience while you’ve been a Cypress College student.

When I was a part of the Legacy Comunity I attended the Kwanza Celebration: an annual celebration hosted at Cypress College. I this event I collaborated with a group of Legacy students to put together the event and through the process, I was able to meet many personable people including President JoAnna Schilling! This was one of my most memorable moments at Cypress.

Who are the faculty and staff (in your major, academic or other support programs, etc.) who have helped you get where you are today?

I have to thank LaRon Armstead, the Legacy counselor, for inspiring me to be more ambitious and being more diligent toward pursuing my goals. Regina Rhymes, the Legacy coordinator, for seeing potential in me and believing in me. Sergio Cutrona my Kinesiology professor for allowing me to be more passionate about pursuing a degree in Kinesiology and for telling me to get out of my comfort zone and experience things firsthand. Scott Tucker, the head athletic trainer at Cypress College, for taking me under his wing and mentoring me in my first year of college. I owe so much to these role models.

How has Cypress College supported you throughout your time at the college?

Cypress College has inspired me by the amount of effort and love I see they have for their students. In my first semester, I fell in love with Cypress College because I saw how many resources they offered for their students to succeed. Whether academic tutoring, financial assistance, food needs, disability aid, and a number of chances for growth to their student body, Cyprus College has supported me in the way they care and provide for their students. I felt blessed at Cypress College not only because I saw how much I was cared for, but also because I was equipped with amazing professors and amazing mentors.

What are your immediate plans after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.)?

My immediate plan is to continue pursuing my education in Kinesiology. I currently work in a physical therapy clinic in Newport Beach and I plan on continuing to gain more first-hand experience in different disciplines of Kinesiology. By the grace of God, I have gotten accepted into Cal State Fullerton, and I’ll be finishing my next two years of schooling there to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology: Pre-Allied Health!

What are your long-term goals? What do you aspire to?

I think one of my long-term goals would be to figure out what career to pursue once I graduate from Fullerton. It’s hard to know with certainty what I’d like to do for a career, and I hope to find it along the way. I do have a passion for teaching, so a potential long-term goal is to get my master’s degree in either Education or go to the specific schooling for the type of Kinesiology career I decide to pursue. I also have a dream of joining the military and becoming a medic. I don’t know what the future holds but I know that if I trust in the Lord He will lead the way!

What are you most proud of?

I think I’m most proud of the fact that I was able to get through community college in the two-year span that I had originally set out to do. I’m so thankful to my counselors for helping me plan my steps and teaching me what I needed to do in order to transfer. I’m also very proud to receive the presidential Scholar of Distinction award. While I don’t take any pride in myself for receiving the award, I praise God for allowing me to work hard and by His grace receive the award.

What one bit of advice would you give to current and future Cypress College students?

One bit of advice would be to eliminate your fear or doubt of getting involved with programs, internships, or clubs, and extracurricular activities. These experiences are what build you up as a person and as a student. They produce a special kind of appreciation for Cypress College and the opportunities it offers.

How have you been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic? What has gotten you through and/or what have you learned from it?

COVID-19 has made it particularly difficult to maintain motivation for school, but I think being accountable to my church friends and to my relationship with God has truly been what’s gotten me through this time.

Is there anyone, in particular, you’d like to thank?

I want to thank my older sister for going through college first and showing me that I’m able to go to college and graduate, too. I’m thankful for how she’s raised me and influenced me as a man, as a student, and as a Christian. I’m thankful for how she has encouraged and inspired me. All Praise Be To God!

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I want to say that without God, none of my accomplishments would’ve been possible and I would never have gotten this far. Without God, my life would be miserable, unsatisfying, and meaningless. It’s God that gives meaning to my life and it’s only Him that can make life full and fruitful. I want to share that if anyone reading this or listening to this has not entered into a relationship with God and learned about the free gift of eternal life, the forgiveness of sin, the love of God, and the sacrifice Jesus paid for sinners on the cross, then I invite you to pick up a Bible today and read about the creator of the universe and His son!